First Years Frist Priority Campaign


The Children’s Rights Alliance are National Coordinators of a new campaign to ensure “a fair start for every child in Europe” 

The overall aim of this campaign is to influence policies, plans and funding to increase investment in Early Childhood Development (ECD) and highlight the importance of ECD on a national and European level by building an evidence base across the 9 countries involved in the campaign (Bulgaria, Hungary, France, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Romania). Stakeholders and decision makers will be provided with clear information on why ECD is important, a road map detailing what needs to happen to improve ECD in Ireland and on the importance of the EU Child Guarantee. Stakeholders will also gain an awareness of the national and European funding opportunities and policies in relation to ECD.

The Alliance will engage with our Early Years Advisory Group to support the campaign in terms of data collection and to support stakeholder awareness and buy in to the aims of the campaign. The Early Years Advisory Group consists of the Katharine Howard Foundation, Early Childhood Ireland, School of Education (TCD), Childcare Committees Ireland, National Childhood Network, Child Development Initiative, Childminding Ireland, ICTU, One Family, Society of St Vincent de Paul, Barnardos, National Women's Council of Ireland, National Parents Council. 

In order to engage civil society, there will be an open call to members of the Children’s Rights Alliance to support the campaign. Leveraging this wide membership will ensure that we will build a wide consensus for the need for increased investment in ECD.
This will be coupled with a targeted approach to key stakeholders representing the most vulnerable groups such as Traveller and Roma children, families with children with disabilities, migrants and refugee children, children in alternative care, and those living in extreme poverty are represented.

The Children’s Rights Alliance are currently refining the specific areas of priority for Ireland

Progress to date

June to December 2020:

  • Preparatory work with project managers and other national co coordinators to agree indicators/area’s in focus for data collection to inform advocacy of the campaign which will take place in 2021. The broad areas include, health, decent nutrition, adequate housing, childcare and education. These will be further refined in the coming weeks with a set of common indicators agreed for all countries. The overarching focus for all countries is Early Childhood Development in these areas but national advocacy campaign can be adapted to focus on the specific priority areas for each country.
  • The European campaign was launched online on 15 December 2020
  • The campaign website was launched which give an overview of the campaign and how people can support it.
  • A flyer and policy paper was published outlining the rationale and vision for the campaign. 

In the coming months:

  • We will be working with stakeholders to build a strong evidence base to support our advocacy strategies, leveraging EU policy and funding opportunities.
  • A policy document will be published to outline our understanding of what policy responses are most needed – complementing the practical examples documented in the case studies.
  • Engagement with stakeholders will commence to build awareness of the campaign and how they can support it.


Ireland Country Fact Sheet 
Launch event

Take Action

Contact Children’s Rights Alliance (National Coordinator Mary Nicholson)
Join the ECD Community
Share on social media
Early Childhood development across Europe

EuroChild and the International Step By Step Association co-lead this Europe-wide campaign. The European Public Health Alliance and Roma Education Fund are associate partners.